As I was flipping through the magazine and spotted this recipe, I was thinking to myself is there another recipe out there that can really improve on French onion soup? Onions, water, broth, bread, cheese, yada yada yada! Onion soup has been around for centuries (ancient Greek and Roman times) and was seen as food for the poor because onions were easy to grow and inexpensive. According to French Onion Soup, a typical onion soup recipe from the mid seventeenth century would have involved cutting onions thinly, frying them with butter, and then boiling them in water with bread and capers. This soup would have been served with vinegar. In the nineteenth century, flour, salt, and pepper were added to the recipe and grated cheese featured as a garnish for French onion soup recipes in the early 1900s. French onion soup became more popular in the US in the 1960’s.
It’s a soup we’ve all grown up with or at least heard about and in my family this soup has been made more than once. Onions are a good source of vitamin C, dietary fiber and evidence showing that sulfur compounds in an onion can lower blood levels of cholesterol. Happy slurping!
adapted from Cathedral Mountain Lodge
4 large yellow onions
4 strips applewood smoked bacon
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 355 ml cans honey ale
1 cup demi-glace (reduced beef stock)
2 cups (16 oz.) Monterey Jack cheese, grated
sourdough bread, cut into 1″ cubes
Peel onions, cut in half and thinly slice. Cut bacon into small pieces. Place butter and bacon into a large pot over medium heat. Cook bacon slowly until it is almost crispy, stirring as you go so it doesn’t burn. Don’t drain bacon grease. Add onions and cook until translucent, about 10 minutes. Add beer and cook for 10 more minutes. Add the demi-glace and continue cooking until soup is reduced by one quarter. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Let cool, then cover and refrigerate overnight (up to 3 days if need be). Leave breab cubes sit on counter overnight, uncovered.
The next day, warm up soup. Place 7 bread cubes each in 4 oven-safe soup bowls set on a cookie sheet and pour soup over top (the cubes will float). Add 1/2 cup of cheese to each bowl and broil until cheese starts to brown and soup bubbles up through the cheese.
The Culinary Chase’s Note: Ok, so I guess I’m eating my words (literally and figuratively). This soup was scrumptious! Choose your favorite beer to guarantee the best taste. The only thing I would do differently would be to add some fresh thyme and change the cheese to Gruyère. I used beef consommé in lieu of the demi-glace (too labor-intensive for me!).